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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details for Professor Yaoling Niu

Wang, M.J., Song, S.G., Niu, Yaoling & Su, L. (2014). Post-collisional magmatism: Consequences of UHPM terrane exhumation and orogen collapse, N. Qaidam UHPM belt, NW China. Lithos 210-211: 181-198.

Author(s) from Durham


Exhumation of subducted slabs and extensional collapse of orogens are the main tectonic processes in ancient and modern continental collisional zones. Magmatism during these two processes may play important roles in understanding reworking and growth of the continental crust. We report here that a series of plutonic magmas, including intrusions of two-mica granite, tonalite, granodiorite, biotite monzogranite, porphyritic biotite granite and diorite, as well as contemporaneous mafic dykes, have been recognized in Dulan eclogite-bearing terrane, the North Qaidam ultra-high pressure metamorphic (UHPM) belt. The magmatism represented by these plutons is temporally ~ 20–30 million years (Mys) younger than the UHPM age, lasting for ~ 40 Mys and derived from different sources with different mechanisms. The magmatism was initiated by exhumation of UHPM terranes during which strongly-peraluminous two-mica granite and metaluminous tonalite were produced respectively by decompression melting of the exhumed UHPM upper and lower continental crust, respectively. The genesis of mafic magmatic enclave (MME)-hosting granodiorite with a clear hybrid signature and coeval biotite monzogranite reflected the upwelling of asthenospheric mantle by extension of lithosphere during the orogen collapse. It was induced by detachment of the subducted lithospheric mantle, which then brought heat and mantle material into continental crust and triggered the partial melting of the exhumed UHPM continental crust, and gave rise to mixing of crustal and mantle melts. Porphyritic biotite granite reflects a late melting event of continental crust. Diorite marked by high magnesium content represents mantle melts with slight crustal contamination, which implies that the orogen has been unrooted and collapsed completely. The post-collisional magmatism of the North Qaidam belt provides an improved understanding for the late thermal and tectonic evolution of a UHPM continental collision zone.